The National Police, in a joint operation with Europol and the police of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, has dismantled one of the most active criminal organizations in Europe allegedly dedicated to introducing cocaine into Spain from South America to later distribute it to the rest of the world. of Europe. In the operation, the agents have arrested 39 people, 12 of whom in Barcelona, as responsible for sending more than 23.5 tons of this narcotic substance. In the Port of Barcelona alone, more than half a ton of drugs have been seized. The arrests have been made through a simultaneous device in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Paraguay.
As reported by the police force, the detainees were wanted as “historical” criminals and formed a “very experienced and violent” organization. During the operation, the police seized more than half a ton of drugs in the Port of Barcelona.
The main target of the investigation was a German-born Spanish citizen who spent more than ten years in prison for attempted murder. Currently, he was investigated for drug trafficking, criminal organization and money laundering. Within the framework of the Belarus operation, a first phase was carried out in Germany, which materialized with some sixty house searches and thirty arrest warrants in March 2021. Since then, the investigation has focused on the two responsible for the organization, that they did it through a third person.
The operation began when the importation of 16 tons of cocaine into the port of Hamburg was detected, which led to the arrest of five members of the organization, who hid the drug in paint cans exported with three containers from Paraguay. The Dutch authorities intercepted another container in the port of Antwerp (Belgium), which was carrying seven tons of cocaine. Based on these interventions, an investigation was initiated in which it was detected that the group was a user of several encrypted platforms and to locate investors and brokers responsible for import.
From then on, the group moved to Spain to establish a new base of operations. Among the members, there was one of the leaders, and the police followed closely. During the surveillance device, it was observed that they were trying to equip themselves with the necessary logistics to receive the cocaine to the peninsula.
The following weeks, the police identified individuals with extensive experience in the world of drug trafficking and who lived in the Barcelona area. They used falsified documentation in case they had to be identified. At the same time, a professional truck driver was identified who was also part of the organization and who was responsible for extracting the organization’s containers from the Port of Barcelona with his vehicle.
Organization located in Tarragona
The criminal organization also had an industrial warehouse in the province of Tarragona and a commercial premises in El Prat de Llobregat, which was used for the cultivation and storage of marijuana, a system through which the organization financed part of the operation to import cocaine. It also served as a place to gather the members of the band.
Finally, the police arrested the four responsible for receiving, storing and transporting the drug. After locating and securing the drug, the rest of the members of the network were arrested in Barcelona and six homes and a commercial premises were searched in El Prat de Llobregat. The investigation allowed the logistical network to be dismantled and the top leaders, responsible for importing and distributing 477 kilos of cocaine, were also arrested. More than half a million euros in cash were seized.
The intervention has been the most important in terms of cocaine made to Tarragona this year and has allowed the police to verify that criminal organizations are beginning to use more discreet locations to store and distribute narcotic substances.
Research still active
The police investigation is still active. The international cooperation of the police from all countries has made it possible to investigate 14 people in Germany, 11 of whom were arrested on April 20. Those investigated are between 26 and 57 years old and most have criminal records. In total, more than 20 people have been arrested in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Dubai and some thirty searches have been made of homes and premises, some of which in Spain, specifically in Malaga.